Evacuation orders for five homes and pre-evacuation notices for two subdivisions were still in effect as of 9:30 Saturday morning because of the 358 Fire.
A federal Type III firefighting team took control of the fire this morning. The team will be battling the fire amid red-flag conditions on Saturday, with high winds expected this afternoon.
“These conditions make us pay real close attention,” said La Plata County spokeswoman Megan Graham. “That’s the kind of conditions that lend itself to really active fire behavior.”
As of Saturday morning, the fire was 51 acres, Graham said. The lower part of the fire is 20 percent contained.
Crews were on the fire line before 7 a.m., said Bruce Evans, chief of the Upper Pine Fire District. Currently, 80 people from various crews are on the ground to fight the fire, while two helicopters and a 12-man smoke jumper crew will be assisting from the air.
“It’s getting to maximum effort right now with the idea that we want to try and button it up before the wind gets in here,” he said.
County Road 245 remains closed in both directions for firefighting operations.
The fire was reported around 3:45 p.m. Friday afternoon on private property near the east entrance of Sunrise Lane and County Road 245, northeast of Durango. It was started by someone shooting a gun recreationally at a private gun range in the area. The shooter was not using any special ammunition considered fire prone, Evans said.
Residences on pre-evacuation notice are homes on County Road 240 between Helen’s store and County Road 502, including Tween Lakes and Enchanted Forest subdivisions.
Five homes located west of County Road 501 and between county roads 502 and 240 (Florida Road) remain evacuated.
La Plata County Sheriff deputies went door-to-door to inform residents they were under a pre-evacuation order Friday evening. Crews are anticipating the fire might move toward Enchanted Forest based on the wind.
A community call center has been set up for information about the fire. Call (970) 385-8700.
Other fires in the regionSan Juan County authorities say a wildfire near Navajo Lake in northwestern New Mexico burned 180 acres and forced the evacuation of approximately 15 people before firefighters encircled it Friday night.County spokeswoman Susan Hakanson said there were no immediate reports of structures being lost due to the fire that was reported Friday afternoon after apparently being started by lightning.
Multiple agencies sent crews to battle the fire and Hakanson says it was reported to be “surrounded” by Friday night.
Another fire about 8 miles southwest of South Fork was estimated to be 50 acres on Saturday afternoon.A brush fire in western Colorado closed Interstate 70 for several hours and led state park officials to evacuate a campground as a precaution.Colorado Parks and Wildlife says all 77 campsites in the Island Access Campground in the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park were full on Friday evening – the beginning of Memorial Day weekend.
Mesa County officials say a truck caught fire in De Beque Canyon east of Colorado Springs, sparking an 80-acre blaze that firefighters had nearly contained by late Friday.
Park manager Pete Firmin says the park was not damaged, but with the wind, high temperatures and low humidity, officials were keeping the campground closed Saturday as a precaution while firefighters mopped up hot spots.
[email protected] The Associated Press contributed to this story.